NBA Coach’s Personality “Might” Have Cost Him His Job – Mark Jackson Out at Golden State
At face value, why would a downtrodden franchise fire the ONLY coach who’s taken them to the post season two years in a row?
Since the 1970’s when the legendary Rick Barry was leading the team, the Golden State Warriors had slid to one of the worst teams in the NBA. While not as bad as the nearby former doormats The Los Angeles Clippers, the Warriors had only one playoff series victory since 1990, that coming under Coach Don Nelson in 1991. It’s been nearly four decades since the team’s last title, in 1975.
Mark Jackson, the former standout point guard for the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers, was fired Monday despite compiling a 51-31 record this year.
Jackson, who had no prior coaching experience, took the team from a 23-43 mark during the 2011-12 season to the post season this year. They also had a marvelous run into the post season last year, making it to the second round after finishing 47-35. He previously had been working as an analyst at ESPN after his retirement a number of years ago.
As ESPN put it, he will be remembered for not only turning around a losing franchise, but for the bombastic and brash way he did it.
Jackson, an ordained minister, was known for his brash and confident demeanor and outspoken opinions. That, according to ESPN, was perhaps the reason he was let go. According to sources, he rubbed team management and upper-level officials the wrong way sometimes. There was rumored to be internal strife over certain assistant coaching moves, and the team owner refused to publicly endorse Jackson beyond this season.
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers, whose team beat the Warriors in a rugged 7-game series in the first round, said this proves the scope of NBA coaching has changed, and it’s NOT for the better:
“George Karl (Denver Nuggets) was the coach of the year last year and got fired. Mark Jackson gets a team to multiple playoffs for the first time in a thousand years and gets fired. It’s our job. We have a tough job. Everyone knows it now more than ever. … Something has absolutely changed. I don’t know what it is. Clearly the patience has changed. I don’t know but there’s definitely a change in thinking above us and it’s hurting us.”
According to sources, ESPN says the Warriors will reportedly go after former Spurs and Bulls standout Steve Kerr, who’s currently a broadcaster. They also might seek Stan Van Gundy, another longtime NBA vet who is currently out of a job. They are also expected to talk to Lionel Hollins, who like Jackson, was given the hook before this season by the Memphis Grizzlies despite getting them deep into the playoffs last year.